In 2007 I moved to England to improve my English. I just turned seventeen and if I think today about how little I planned before I left, I am actually a bit shocked. I can’t actually believe my mother let me go without ever asking how I will be health-insured in England. Of course I never thought about it either, I had too many things on my mind with moving: Saying goodbye to my friends and family, not sure what to expect in England and of course, I was looking forward to a new country and meeting new people. I actually lived in Sevenoaks for the first year and not in London. There I stayed with a host family and the college I attended was just down the road.
I must have lived in Sevenoaks for just under two months when I had to go to the doctor for the first time. My host mother actually suggested going to local GP and made an appointment for me. Quickly I was very worried. I didn’t have a health insurance and surely paying it myself must be very expensive. She assured me that I didn’t have to pay for it. I didn’t understand what she meant, how can I not have to pay for it? Coming from Germany, where health insurance is mandatory and very expensive, I would never have thought about a health service, that’s free to everyone who is entitled to it. Being an EU citizen with the intention to permanently live in England I was entitled to it and registering with the GP was very straight forward. I only had to fill in a form with my details and shortly after I was seen by the doctor.
Luckily, I didn’t need to see the doctor for another year, by then I lived in London and when I was ill I registered with my local GP. This time registering was a bit more time consuming than the first time, but it was easy and all I needed to bring with me was a proof of address and my ID. Just a few weeks later I received my NHS number and my health card. The whole progress was free and it is for everyone. Please don’t pay anyone to fill in your NHS form. If you need help, please ask your GP or click on the link below for more information.